If you have two minutes, watch this video
. (Two minutes later…) The video you just watched was created by a drone and it’s pretty incredible. Even the idea
of drones is pretty incredible, right? Most of us remember the days before cellphones moonlighted as cameras, Internet browsers, Walkmans, and heart-rate monitors. But even with all those things it’s still weird for me to think about drones as marketable and commercial entities. In the end though, I suppose it doesn’t matter that it “feels weird;” Ebay alone has seen drone transactions climb past the $16 million mark since last March. This is only the beginning. The drones are coming… Way back at the end of 2013, Amazon announced that they were working on getting drones to make deliveries. Though undoubtedly cool, this was the first time that most of us had heard of drones without the accompanying words “attack,” or “warzone,” or “casualties.” Drones were a military endeavor. But then Amazon threw a rock at the hornet’s nest and theories came out of the woodwork. Philip K. Dick and Isaac Asimov would have been proud. The future was here and drones were the precursor to what? Flying cars?
Eventually, right? Fast-forward a little over a year later and Amazon’s drone dreams
have been somewhat grounded. The FAA was always going to have a major input in these sort of discussions, and while the Federal Aviation Administration recently released a report
that was surprising in its understanding of the potential of the privatized drone industry, there are still hoops that need to be jumped through. While many feared that the FAA would impose industry-killing regulations and requirements on drone purchases and pilots, the information unveiled in the report suggest that drones will eventually become as ubiquitous as the mailman – but you’ve got to give them time. Regulations probably won’t be released until at least 2016, and even after that it will be years before the price and convenience of owning a drone becomes commonplace. But… The drones ARE
coming. Make no mistake. While Amazon’s proclamation might have seemed science fiction just a year ago, it’s very much in documentary territory now. There’s no telling where all this ends up. If it starts with the Amazons of the world delivering your Prime packages, where does it go from there? Food delivery via drone? Are the days of shopping in an actual retail store over? Will it be easier and cheaper to do all shopping online and then have your friendly neighborhood drone make the delivery? Only time will tell how much the drone industry changes, well, all of our industries (especially shipping – both LTL and otherwise). The idea of walking outside on a sunny afternoon and seeing hundreds of drones flying overhead is not the fantasy it once was. How you feel about this development might depend on your age, but as technology grows exponentially, the sort of ideas once reserved for theoretical debates will become increasingly actual in the years to come. And as for Amazon? They’ve got things covered
. At least for now. cc Image courtesy Don McCullough via Flickr